Search and Rescue Team Uses DJI Drones to Save Lost Dog in Utah

On Christmas Eve, a dog became separated from its owner while hiking near a frozen waterfall in . The next morning, the Weber County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team used DJI drones to locate and rescue the lost dog.

On Christmas Eve, Claudio Maiuri was hiking when he lost his dog. Fortunately, officials were able to locate the stranded dog near a frozen waterfall in Utah and reunite it with its owner.

According to the Weber County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, on Saturday, a local man was hiking near Waterfall Canyon when he became separated from his dog, Nala.

The man couldn't find Nala when it got dark, so he kept looking the next morning, on Christmas Day. Around 1 p.m. local time, the hiker's family called the to say that they couldn't reach him by phone or text message.

At some point, the hiker could answer a call and tell the authorities that Nala was near the waterfall, but he couldn't get to her because the terrain was too steep and icy.

Search And Rescue Team Uses Dji Drones To Save Lost Dog In Utah

Weber SaR explains how they used DJI drones to save dog

“When we showed up on the scene, all we knew was that the dog was somewhere above the frozen waterfall, as the ground teams could hear her barking from below,” Kyle Nordfors, drone coordinator of the Weber SaR team, explained. “I launched the DJI M30 drone and flew up the 2,000-foot vertical terrain, using the thermal camera to locate her. Once Nala (the dog's name) was found, I used the laser range finder to get her exact latitudes and longitudes.”

“We then used the drone to keep our eyes on her while also using a DJI M300 drone to guide the ground teams to her. We had to map out the safest route for them as it was all covered with snow and was nothing but cliffs. Once the ground team approached Nala, she wanted nothing to do with them and ran from them despite the ground team offering treats. After about 40 minutes of trying to approach her, the ground team requested that we use the M30 to “herd” her toward the ground team. It totally worked.”

“The team leader, Nic Rodgers, told me via text that we would never have been able to get her if it wasn't for the drone.”

After giving Nala some food and water, they started down the mountain. At this point the sun had set, so we used the of the to light their way as they hiked down.

One of the Weber County Search and Rescue team members said that:

“Nala was cold with a few minor injuries, but was able to hike down with the rescuers. She is one tough puppy! Once reaching the trailhead parking lot, both humans and canine couldn't have been happier to be reunited.”

AllTrails says that Waterfall Canyon is a 2.4-mile trail near Ogden, Utah, that is “moderately challenging.” Ogden is approximately 38 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Photos and video courtesy of Weber County Search and Rescue.

Search And Rescue Team Uses Dji Drones To Save Lost Dog In Utah 1
Search And Rescue Team Uses Drone To Save Lost Dog In Utah
Search And Rescue Team Uses Drone To Save Lost Dog In Utah
Search And Rescue Team Uses Drone To Save Lost Dog In Utah
Search And Rescue Team Uses Drone To Save Lost Dog In Utah

You can read more stories about how drones are used for good here on DroneXL.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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